In response to Eric’s post yesterday I made the following comment, which was really more diary length than comment length. At issue was Obama’s threat to not send out SS checks vis-à-vis the Constitutional mandate not to default on the public debt.
I would argue that if the SS “trust fund” was a “trust fund” in any true sense of the word, then SS payments would have a standing even higher than the Constitutional mandate of “no default.”
The meaning of a trust fund is that you are holding somebody else’s money in trust. It is not your money. Therefore any default on the payments could invoke the due process clauses of the Constitution by depriving people of their property without due process of law. In fact a lawyer with more time on their hands than me might seek social security recipients as Plaintiffs in a Declaratory Judgment action, seeking a declaration of SS’s priority – based on Obama’s threat not to pay.
As a lawyer, I hold the retainers I receive from clients in trust. I must set up a special trust account at the bank specifically for this purpose. If this account is ever overdrawn, the bank must report it to the Supreme Court of Ohio by law. The shortest path to disbarment (and the most common) is for a lawyer to use money from this trust account for anything besides its intended purpose. I cant pay my bills or my employees or my rent or leg surgery for little Timmy who will surely die if he doesn’t get the surgery out of this fund. Its just that simple. I must go down in flames before I can take my clients money. And there are weeks that I don’t get paid even though I’ve got tens of thousands of dollars in my trust fund. I guess this answers the age old question of who is lower in the pond scum category between lawyers and politicians.
The audacity of Obama indicating that payments from funds held in trust for seniors and the disabled would be the first to go should be seized on like a junkyard dog by every candidate and media outlet of good repute and should not be released until Obama’s pants are ripped off and the true import of his threat stands naked before the American people.
Think about it. He is suggesting his multimillion dollar monthly vacations, his bloated staff, Pelosi’s billion dollar studies of frogs in San Fran Bay, Michelle’s revamping of every food pyramid chart in a public school ….. etc etc etc would all supersede seniors recieveing their own money back. If our people cannot muster the courage to explain this to the American people, then it seems there is no lie or distortion this man can’t get away with.
Now, I don’t claim to know the actual legal status of the SS “trust fund” versus a trust account as I have described or a trust fund in the common sense of the word. Obviously we know that the money we put in goes to pay the current beneficiaries and is not held for us. There is also some indication that the SC has ruled against construing the trust fund as a trust fund, but the issue was not exactly on point. The issue here is priority of payment versus guarantee of a certain return.
But no matter if my post holds any legal validity or not, if they want to use Orwellian terms to describe the SS “trust fund”, then they should be held to those terms. They have no problem telling us how safe the money is when Republicans offer an alternative that allows people to keep their own retirement funds, and BO’s ridiculous threat shouldn’t die at least the next 2 election cycles if for no other reason than dispelling the notion that there is a “lock box” or a “trust fund” or anything else that protects your retirement income from going to fund abortions in Africa.